Capcom VS SNK 2 - Xbox Live
Capcom VS SNK 2 on Xbox Live: Is it the dream match we've all been waiting for? Our full Xbox Live-specific review gives you the lowdown.
Let's get one thing straight before we start. This is not so much a review of Capcom VS SNK 2 - the game. This is more a feature on whether Xbox Live is good enough for the present day classic to play as beautifully online as it does offline.
For the record, CVS2 is by far one of the most exciting fighting games on Xbox, PS2, Gamecube and even the Dreamcast. It's a must have title, period.
Beat-em ups are a genre where precise command inputs embedded within a human reflex are key to victory, and any lag or jerkiness in an online battle can hinder skills greatly and thus soil the experience for players.
Ask any Virtua Fighter or SNK die-hard their opinion on this matter and you will be granted with the solid confirmation that any interruptions in time are simply and expressly verboten.
Xbox Live has been praised from the roof-tops as a near-perfect online set-up available for gaming. It is this fact which has inspired the writing of this feature review.
When a friend told me that Capcom VS SNK 2 was coming to Xbox Live, I simply *had* to see it. If you're a corpse or one who is simply lacking access to the knowledge of very good things, CVS2 is the culmination of several of the worlds finest 2D beat-em ups from Capcom and SNK - funnily enough - and allows you to play as your favourite character, in your favourite way.
If you like Samurai Showdown, you can play as Streetfighter's Ryu, with Samurai Showdown's gameplay mechanics. If you like Streetfighter, you can play as Fatal Fury's Terry Bogard with SF Zero 2's custom combo gauge or SF3's Parrying feature, and so on and so forth...
The gameplay is very fast paced, with low-skill players relying on sweeps, throws and big moves, and high-level players stringing together normal and special attacks - seamlessly - in fantastic displays of skill.
Getting online is fairly painful if you don't have experience of setting up an ISP connection, or a 24 hour hotline you can call, but thankfully, I have both and after 20 minutes or so of arseing about, I was online.
Once you've enabled Xbox Live and booted up Capcom Vs SNK 2, you'll notice the Network Battle menu item in the bottom right. You click this, pick the profile you created in your Xbox Live! menu, input the password and you're in. (see the video below if that wasn't clear enough)
You're then greeted with the choices of;
- Quick match - an any rules match with any challenger,
- Create a match - set up rules for a match and invite players to compete,
- Player list - see who's playing online at the moment,
- Friends list - a menu consisting of players you've invited to be 'friends' with you,
- Rankings - so you can see how much sadder than you people across the world are. Only kidding.
Although all these are good things, I was sorely disappointed that I could not send a challenge to the top players in the ranking list. I was continuously challenged by people either beneath my level of skill, or those who were either cheese/throw sluts, with the one-in-ten occasional skilful and honourable player.
What frustrated me particularly is that the majority of top ranking players I fought, were using EO mode - a mode where special moves are activated via pushing a direction on one of the analogue sticks, meaning the reserved-for-ninjas Akuma Firecracker move can now be performed by simply pressing the stick in a diagonal direction. This simple fact, tells me that traditional skill is not rewarded, moreso the resourcefulness of a player to simply win in whatever way they can and hence, my experience was unrewarding and unpleasant.
Coming from an arcade tournament background where lack of skill and throwing regularly would have you cast out of the community like an STD-riddled leper, I was annoyed. Had the usually thorough boys and girls at Capcom actually provided a 'throws on or off' option in the rules selection of the player search, this would not be a problem. But it is. Alas...
Other negatives included the restrictive nature of the control set-up - L and R buttons are assigned with the same controls as the Black and White buttons - and the unsatisfying feedback which is the rating system. Apparently, someone ranked around 150, who's played 1000 matches and won 300 of them - whom I've beaten several times in a row - is better than me. I've played 132 matches and won 100 of them. Baffling indeed.
It's understandable that one with more experience can be assumed to be the better player, but if I beat them - repeatedly - surely that means I should gain considerable ground in the ratings, of which I rank around the 1000 mark?
On a more positive note, the online fighting experience itself - when you get a good network connection - is satisfying. I did experience lag and cut-offs regularly, but that was mainly when I accepted a match regardless of the warning, "your match may be affected by the network conditions", which serves me right. Capcom Japan has recently announced that a patch is in the works to improve on the lagging issue, so that covers that.
Another bonus came in the form of creative players, who often spent the effort on customising their characters with lavish colour schemes and even more colourful names. Particular favourites included a Yuri player in brown-clothing, called "Your mum" and a player who creatively named his adaptation of Mai, "Big Tits".
All in all, the online experience was mainly soiled by a lack of options to filter out those of a dishonourable nature and a feeling of being unfairly under-rated, due to the questionable ranking system.
The network was great when it said it was great and sucked when it warned me it was going to - although it was only ever great for fighters in Europe, varied for US fighters and *never* any good when facing the Japanese - which is whom I really wanted to test my skills against.
Button-press-to-response time is also flawed, even on the best connection, which is frankly the whole point of this feature. It's off by a fraction of a second, but as you know, a half second is a long time in beat-em up gameplay and it means Xbox Live! is not the Golden Fleece that some had me believe.
Thankfully, once you get used to the delay in timing, it's still very playable in it's online, delayed-response state, it's just nowhere near as fast, or intense as it's offline mode.
I still enjoyed the game - sometimes - and felt able to fight to a certain level of my potential abilities - sometimes - it's just that in the back of my mind, I knew that I was capable of playing so much better, if only the response time was such, that I could perform those split-second super-combo reverses.
Oh, and by the way - Xbox needs an arcade standard joystick. Current solution is a DC or PS2 joystick + Xbox controller adapter. Somewhere, there is a peripheral company losing serious cash... Otherwise, you can check CEX.co.uk for hardcore gear. Or alternatively, you can trade your stuff for cold, hard cash to spend in the arcade, against challengers of far greater skill!
(See Latest Videos & Video FAQ Here)
|PLEASE DO NOT DIRECT LINK TO ANY MEDIA FILE ON KIKIZO|
|How easy it is to play CVS2, online? We show you here.||1.00min||4.00MB||MPG|
|What does the lag (time delay) looks like in CVS2 on Xbox Live? See how it affects the game here.||1.00min||4.00MB||MPG|
|When you get a decent battle on a decent connection, see what a cool fight looks like here!||1.00min||4.00MB||MPG|